Man’s body discovered in Jackson County over the weekend

Homicide investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying the body of a man found on Saturday in Jackson County.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to an area off of Colorado 125, south of Rand, where a passer-by found the body near the Trail 1226 trailhead, according to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation news release.

The discovery is being investigated as a homicide. The body is described as that of a white man with brown hair who was in his 20s or 30s, about 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds.

Investigators have searched local, state and national identification databases but have not found a match.

Anyone with information is asked to call the CBI at 303-239-4148.

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Canadian retailer Comark Holdings to restructure as virus crisis weighs

June 3 (Reuters) – Comark Holdings Inc said on Wednesday it would restructure under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Canadian apparel retailer’s business.

Apparel retailers have been facing mounting debt and bankruptcies as the economic damage brought on by the pandemic has forced store closures and pressured discretionary spending.

The fashion retailer’s Ricki’s, Cleo and Bootlegger websites will remain operational, Comark said, adding it would optimize its store footprint during the restructuring.

Canada’s Aldo Group had also said it would restructure under the CCAA last month, as virus-led lockdowns weighed on the footwear retailer’s business.

The CCAA is a Canadian Federal Act that allows large corporations to restructure their finances and avoid bankruptcy, while allowing creditors to receive some form of payment for amounts owed to them.

The company, which was bought by private equity firm Stern Partners in 2015, said it expects its principal shareholder to participate in the restructuring process and to submit a transaction proposal that would allow it to emerge from CCAA protection. (Reporting by Aditi Sebastian; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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High Plains Harvest Church files lawsuit against Gov. Polis continuing to limit religious services amid pandemic

A church in Northern Colorado is suing Gov. Jared Polis and Jill Ryan, executive director of Colorado Department of Health and Environment, alleging that the state’s capacity limit on in-person gatherings discriminates against religious organizations.

The lawsuit, filed May 25 by pastor Mark Hotaling and High Plains Harvest Church in the Weld County town of Ault, claims the government has caused irreparable and undue hardship on the organization by limiting in-person gatherings to 10 people or less, and that restricting how Coloradans worship is a violation of the Constitution.

Further, it alleges religious organizations are being unfairly singled out while other businesses are able to welcome patrons.

“Plaintiffs feel as though they have stepped through the looking glass into a world where the right to shop for gardening supplies and home improvement materials is protected by the Constitution, while meeting as a body to worship God corporately has been relegated to the category of unnecessary of even superfluous,” the lawsuit reads.

Hotaling decided to sue after visiting a Lowe’s where he saw hundreds of people in line to get in, the lawsuit said.

“It is a religious liberties issue. You can go to Lowe’s or Home Depot, and hundreds of people are buying lumber and gardening supplies,” Hotaling told CBS4. “It is time for the church to have the same freedom that a big box store has.”

A spokesman for Gov. Polis said his office does not comment on pending litigation.

As the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses, schools and other communal spaces across the Centennial State in early spring, many religious institutions moved worship services, education classes and even offering plates online. But as the state gradually reopens, this lawsuit underscores the tension some feel between their religious freedom of expression and the government’s continued intervention.

In May, President Donald Trump demanded that states allow “essential places of faith” to reopen for the weekend and threatened to overrule those that defied him, according to The New York Times.

Under both Polis’ stay at home order and safer at home guidelines, religious institutions have been considered critical operations and allowed to offer services, such as funerals, to groups of up to 10 people while adhering to social distancing guidelines. That closes the door on most weekly worship services, and churches, synagogues and mosques said they are suffering financially because of those restrictions.

On Monday, Polis proposed new rules that would increase the indoor capacity for houses of worship to 50% or up to 50 people.

Colorado Muslim Society, which has about 3,000 members, closed March 12 and is figuring out logistics on how it can safely open spokeswoman Iman Jodeh said.

“Muslims pray five times a day and since we don’t sit in pews, we prostrate and sit on the carpet. We do put our forehead and nose to the carpet,” said Jodeh. “The decision [to close] for us was, were we able to disinfect and sanitize between each prayer?”

Though some Catholic churches began hosting limited, in-person services in mid-May, other Christian churches told The Denver Post they were waiting and closely following guidelines from the governor and the Centers for Disease Control closely.

Experts agree that the risk of transmission for the novel coronavirus is exceptionally higher in indoor spaces, compared to open-air — up to 19 times greater according to a recent, yet-to-be-published paper in Japan, said Shelly Miller, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder

The two biggest risk factors are population density in a building and ventilation, said John Zhai, another professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Zhai, who specializes in building engineering, is studying the efficacy of social distancing and ventilation in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and found through his research that droplets from talking can carry the airborne illness up to nearly 10 feet. Large droplets can travel even further, up to 26 feet even without wind, Zhai said by email.

“Activities such as singing and coughing will largely increase the exhaled droplet numbers — in the order of 10 to 100 — and the transmission distance, due to the larger opening of mouth and momentum of the exhalation,” Zhai said. “If the density can be cut by half, our study shows that it may reduce infection rate by 20% to 40% during the first 30 minutes of [an] event under current ventilation practices.”

High Plains Harvest Church had asked for court order to temporarily overrule the capacity limit for houses of worship, however, the motion was withdrawn, said attorney Barry Arrington, who is representing pastor Hotaling. The lawsuit is pending.

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Mark Esper breaks with Trump, opposes using military for protests – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — Breaking with President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using military forces for law enforcement in containing current street protests.

Esper said the Insurrection Act, which would allow Trump to use active-duty military for law enforcement in containing street protests, should be invoked in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He declared, “We are not in one of those situations now.”

Invoking the Insurrection Act has been discussed as Trump has talked about using the military to quell violent protests in U.S. cities. Esper has authorized the movement of several active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation’s capital, but they have not been called to action.

Just before Esper spoke, Trump took credit for a massive deployment of National Guard troops and federal law enforcement officers to the nation’s capital, saying it offered a model to states on how to stop violence accompanying some protests nationwide.

Trump argued that the massive show of force was responsible for protests in Washington and other cities turning more calm in recent days and repeated his criticism of governors who have not deployed their National Guard to the fullest.

“You have to have a dominant force,” Trump told Fox New Radio on Wednesday. “We need law and order.”

Esper, in his Pentagon remarks, strongly criticized the actions of the Minneapolis police for the incident last week that ignited the protests. In their custody, a black man, George Floyd, died after a white officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Esper called the act “murder” and “a horrible crime.”

Esper has come under fire from critics, including retired senior military officers, for having walked from the White House on Monday evening with Trump and others for a presidential photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had previously sustained damage from protesters.

Esper said that while he was aware they were heading to St. John’s, he did not know what would happen there.

“I was not aware a photo op was happening,” he said, adding that he also did not know that police had forcibly moved peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square to clear the way for Trump and his entourage.

Trump put a political spin on his criticism of states with violence. He said, “You notice that all of these places that have problems, they’re not run by Republicans. They’re run by liberal Democrats.”

The Defense Department has drafted contingency plans for deploying active-duty military if needed. Pentagon documents reviewed by The Associated Press showed plans for soldiers from an Army division to protect the White House and other federal buildings if the security situation in the nation’s capital were to deteriorate and the National Guard could not secure the facilities.

But interest in exerting that extraordinary federal authority appeared to be waning in the White House. Though the crackdown on the Washington demonstrations was praised by some Trump supporters Tuesday, a handful of Republicans expressed concern that law enforcement officers risked violating the protesters’ First Amendment rights.

The situation in Washington had escalated Monday, becoming a potent symbol of Trump’s policing tactics and a physical manifestation of the rhetorical culture war he has stoked since before he was elected. Nearly 30 minutes before a 7 p.m. curfew in Washington, U.S. Park Police repelled protesters with what they said were smoke canisters and pepper balls.

“D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination,” Trump tweeted Tuesday, after a night in which heavily armed military forces and federal officers swarmed the city. Trump added, “(thank you President Trump!).”

The clampdown followed a weekend of demonstrations outside the White House. Trump had been furious about images juxtaposing fires set in the park outside the executive mansion with a darkened White House in the background, according to current and former campaign and administration officials. He was also angry about the news coverage revealing he had been rushed to the White House bunker during Friday’s protests.

In a Monday address in the Rose Garden, he called on governors to ramp up the National Guard presence to tamp down the protests. If they didn’t, Trump said, he would dispatch the military to their states — a step rarely taken in modern American history.

The federal government has provided affected states with a list of National Guard resources available to them, the White House official said. The official added that Trump’s message to governors was that if they don’t use all the tools in their arsenal, they shouldn’t expect a sympathetic response to any request for federal dollars to help with cleanup and recovery down.

On Monday, 715 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in the capital area in case the situation in Washington escalated. They are stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Two more 82nd Airborne battalions, totaling 1,300 soldiers, are on standby at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, according to documents reviewed by the AP. The plan is named Operation Themis.

The soldiers on standby in the Washington area are armed and have riot gear and bayonets. After the AP first reported the issuing of bayonets Tuesday, orders came down that soldiers would not need the knife-like weapons that can be affixed to rifles, according to two soldiers from the 82nd who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear they would be punished for commenting publicly. The idea that bayonets could be used in confronting civilians provoked an outcry on social media and among some members of Congress.

Administration officials were privately acknowledging that Monday’s events didn’t serve the administration well. Some Republican lawmakers, typically in lockstep with the president or at least refrain from publicly criticizing him, said Trump had gone too far in appearing to use force to clear the way for his visit to the church.

“There is no right to riot, no right to destroy others’ property, and no right to throw rocks at police,” said Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse. “But there is a fundamental — a constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said of Trump posing for photos holding up a Bible, “I just wish he opened it once in a while.”

It was Attorney General William Barr who gave the order for law enforcement to clear out the protest before Trump’s walk to the church ahead of Washington’s 7 p.m. curfew. A person familiar with the matter said the decision was made earlier Monday, but had not been executed by the time Barr arrived in Lafayette Park to survey the scene. He verbally gave the order at that time.

After the demonstrators had been pushed out of the park, Trump emerged from the White House with several officials, including Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Senior defense officials told reporters Milley was also not aware that the Park Police and law enforcement had made a decision to clear the square or that Trump intended to visit the church. They had been in Washington to coordinate with federal law enforcement officials but were diverted to the White House to brief Trump on military preparations, the officials said.

Sourcing & Methodology

Lemire reported from New York. James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, and Sarah Blake Morgan in West Jefferson, North Carolina, contributed.

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Coronavirus: Controversial border plans are ‘essential’ to save lives, Patel says

Ordering people arriving in the UK to quarantine for 14 days is “essential” to save lives, Home Secretary Priti Patel has said as she set out details of the government’s controversial border plan.

From Monday, all those travelling to the UK – apart from a short list of exemptions including road hauliers – will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

They will also be required to complete an online locator form to supply contact details, travel details and the address of where they will self-isolate.

UK border officials will perform “spot checks” to ensure travellers have completed the forms, and those who fail to do so could be fined £100.

Those who breach the 14-day self-isolation requirements could also be punished with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England, or potential prosecution and an unlimited fine.

The government has pushed ahead with the imposition of quarantine measures at the UK border despite criticism of the plans from senior Conservative MPs, who fear the impact on the already struggling aviation and tourism sectors.

Critics have also questioned why quarantine measures are being introduced now and not at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Defending the policy in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Ms Patel said the UK was “now more vulnerable” to new coronavirus infections being brought in from abroad as international travel picks up from its record low.

The home secretary added: “These measures are backed by the science, supported by the public, and essential to save lives.

“We know they will present difficulties for the tourism industry, but that’s why we have an unprecedented package of support, the most comprehensive in the world, for both employees and businesses.

“But we will all suffer if we get this wrong. That’s why it’s crucial that we introduce these measures now.”

Ms Patel confirmed the first review of the quarantine measures would take place in the week beginning 28 June, with the government considering “international travel corridors” to allow future quarantine-free travel from destinations deemed safe.

She said: “Across government and with the sector we continue to explore all options for future safe travel.

“Any international approaches will be bilateral and agreed with the other countries concerned.

“We need to ensure that those countries are deemed to be safe.

“We are not alone in our fight against this disease, or in the measures we have taken to stop it.”

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Met Office weather forecast: How weather ENDS as UK cools for June – Latest maps

Met Office weather forecasters have released long-range weather predictions for much of June, with more sunshine on the cards but less heat. A marked dip in temperatures will pursue for at least the first two weeks of June, as a northerly airflow moves in.

The forecasters have revealed hot weather has “come to an end” for the time being, as the sky-high temperatures of May have given way to a distinct chill.

Temperatures in much of the country now dangle around the mid-teens, with highs of 17C in London today.

Forecasters believe the run of worse weather could continue for the next two weeks, with an “unsettled” outlook for the country.

A run of cool wind and spells of rain will likely remain until mid-June before the country sees temperatures return to the average for the time of year.

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond said the country’s hot weather has “come to an end”.

She added the area of high pressure which had caused the unseasonably warm temperatures had now lifted off, and northerly winds had taken its place.

As the country heads into the first weekend of June temperatures will remain “cool”, as unsettled conditions persist.

According to long-range forecasts, which have limited accuracy so early on in the month, the weather may remain the same until the end of the month.

The long-range forecast, which covers June 17 to July 1, the Met Office states conditions will remain “changeable”.

As the country moves into July longer, drier periods will take hold, and the weather will bounce back slightly.

Below-average temperatures should recover to the “average” for the month.

UK monthly averages for July 2019 set around roughly 16C, and despite record-breaking temperatures, ended up being a washout for some regions.

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Over the month, Cheshire saw more than double its average annual rainfall for July, with 219 percent more than usual.

Several other counties saw a similar picture, with Lancashire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire also under one-and-a-half times more rain.

As people looked west, the image shifted, as Pembrokeshire received just 31 percent of its July average.

During the first two months of summer, the area saw just 53 percent.

Temperatures during the period notably hit the highest on record during July last year.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden recorded the country’s highest temperature on July 29, which saw sweltering highs of 38.7C.

Staff tweeted at the time saying they had “all felt as if we’d melted.”

The figure exceeded the previous national average of 38.5C by .2C, which was set in Kent 16 years prior.

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Singapore factory activity rebounds from 11-year low but stays in contraction mode

SINGAPORE – A gauge of manufacturing conditions in Singapore bounced off its worst level in 11 years, but remained within the contraction territory.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 46.8 points in May, up 2.1 points from 44.7 in April which was the lowest reading since November 2008 during the global financial crisis.

A reading over 50 indicates expansion, while one below 50 points shows contraction.

This is the fourth month of contraction for the overall manufacturing sector, the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM), which compiles the index, said on Wednesday (June 3).

The electronics sector PMI recorded an increase of 3.4 points from April to post a slower contraction at 46.2 – marking the fourth month of contraction.

Ms Sophia Poh, SIPMM’s vice-president of industry engagement and development, said: “Despite weaker supply chain operations arising from last month’s extended local circuit breaker measures, the latest improved PMI readings indicate the resilience of the local manufacturing sectors.

“Going forward, manufacturers are cautiously optimistic of a gradual recovery towards the latter half of the year.”

The overall manufacturing PMI for May reflects the first expansion in the inventory index after three consecutive contractions. The finished goods index also expanded after shrinking for two straight months.

DBS Bank’s senior economist Irvin Seah said: “This is definitely the first glimmer of hope amidst an otherwise very gloomy economic climate.”

The PMI rebound could be a significant turning point for the economy if subsequent non-oil domestic export and industrial production figures follow suit, Mr Seah noted.

However, slower contractions were recorded for the indexes of imports, input prices and order backlog.

The supplier deliveries posted a faster rate of contraction. The employment index contracted for a fourth straight month.

Mr Barnabas Gan, UOB Group’s economist, said the manufacturing sector is still weighted down by ongoing supply chain disruptions and negative demand shocks from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PMI readings suggest further headwinds against Singapore’s manufacturing environment, with key manufacturing sectors, save for biomedical manufacturing, in the doldrums for the year ahead, Mr Gan said.

He said pharmaceutical production and exports may continue to support Singapore’s overall manufacturing and trade environment.

“Singapore is well-positioned to produce and export medical necessities, which implies that the pharmaceutical industry can act as a support to the overall manufacturing environment,” Mr Gan noted.

Mr Seah said that while the biomedical cluster is likely to support gross domestic product performance and help overall manufacturing to outperform some other sectors despite weak global demand, positive spin-offs to the rest of the economy, such as a boost to employment, are limited.

Pharmaceutical exports accounted for only 9.9 per cent of Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports in 2019, while the biomedical cluster was weighted at just under 20 per cent of total industrial production.

Mr Gan said: “Beyond the pandemic, we would also need to account for incremental headwinds stemming from the renewed US-China trade tensions that may intensify in the months ahead.”

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UPDATE 1-Bank of Canada holds rates steady, says COVID-19 impact has likely peaked

(Adds CAD move, details)

OTTAWA, June 3 (Reuters) – The Bank of Canada held its key overnight interest rate steady on Wednesday and said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy appears to have peaked, while the Canadian economy seems to have avoided worst-case scenario projections.

The decision to hold rates steady came on the same day new governor Tiff Macklem took helm of the central bank. The bank slashed rates three times to a record low 0.25% in March and launched its first ever large-scale bond buying program in response to the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.

“In Canada, the pandemic has led to historic losses in output and jobs. Still, the Canadian economy appears to have avoided the most severe scenario,” the bank said in its release.

The vast majority of economists polled by Reuters last week said they expect the bank will hold rates at 0.25% until at least the end of next year, while money markets do not expect any further moves this year.

The Canadian dollar rose to 1.3490 per U.S. dollar, or 74.13 U.S. cents, after the interest rate decision.

Macklem, a long time central banker and former dean of a prominent Canadian business school, takes over from former Governor Stephen Poloz, who retired following a seven-year term on Tuesday.

The central bank has stated it can deliver more monetary stimulus if needed to meet its 2% inflation target. (Reporting by Kelsey Johnson, Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer in Ottawa Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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Church leaders rubuke Trump for use of tear gas on George Floyd protesters for ‘photo-op’

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Donald Trump used the religious backdrop to take photos while protests were taking place in opposition to police brutality against Black Americans, following the death of George Floyd. Mr Floyd died last week after then Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck while detaining him.

The protests started in Minneapolis, and quickly spread to Chicago and New York, and many other cities across the US over the weekend.

Trump’s visit to a religious shrine came the morning after he made a very public trek from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which caught on fire during riots on Sunday.

In order for the president to get to the church, he had to cross Lafayette Square, which was full of demonstrators peacefully protesting outside the White House gates.

Before the president left the mansion, police were ordered to disperse the group of protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets, creating a clear path for him to get to the church.

However, bishops in charge of the St John’s Episcopal Church were not made aware of the visit and many were outraged at the police violence towards protesters fuelled by his visit.

Around 20 bishops and volunteers, who were giving out snacks and refreshments to protesters, were told the leave the church so that Mr Trump could have his picture taken.

Reverend Gini Gerbasi, from a nearby church in Georgetown, told Religious News Service that when she left briefly to get supplies, armed police began to set off tear gas to expel protesters.

“I was suddenly coughing from the tear gas.

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“We heard those explosions and people would drop to the ground because you weren’t sure what it was,” Ms Gerbasi said.

“They turned holy ground into a battleground.”

The next day, as Washington, D.C. cleaned up Tuesday morning, Trump took first lady Melania on a trip to the national shrine to Pope John Paul II – a second religious visit in two days.

This has caused church leaders to speak out against the president’s actions.

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“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory said in a statement just before Trump’s visit to the national shrine

Gregory is the nation’s highest-ranking African-American bishop and has led the Archdiocese of Washington for just over a year.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, head of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., said Donald Trump’s actions in posing for photos at religious sites are “reprehensible”

In the statement, the Archbishop pointed to the late Pope John Paul Il’s defense of human rights in condemning “the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

Although he did not use the president’s name once in the statement, it was titled “Archbishop Wilton Gregory Issues Statement on Planned Presidential Visit,” and claimed that Trump’s actions Monday and Tuesday were all for the photo-op.

During the visit to the shrine, Trump appeared to tell the first lady, Melania Trump, to smile.

In footage taken of the visit to the shrine on Tuesday, the president was filmed briefly uttering something to Ms Trump, before smiling for the photographers, who were documenting their visit.

He then appeared to notice that she was not smiling, and spoke to her again before Ms Trump then forced a smile.

About five hours after making the visit to the shrine, Melania released four photos from the short trip to her official @FLOTUS Twitter page and shared a message where she reasserted her husband’s “passion for religious freedom.”

@POTUS & I honoured the life & legacy of Saint John Paul II at @JP2Shrine today,’ the first lady posted.

“His passion & dedication for religious freedom is a legacy that we must protect for people around the world.”

One of the images is of the first couple from behind kneeling in front of the altar in the shrine’s chapel.

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U.S. board urges helicopter manufacturers to add crash-data recorders

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday urged six major manufacturers to equip turbine-powered helicopters with crash-resistant systems to record data, audio and images, after former NBA star Kobe Bryant and eight others were killed in a helicopter crash in January.

The NTSB asked Airbus Helicopters (AIR.PA), Bell – a unit of Textron Inc (TXT.N) Leonardo, MD Helicopters, Robinson Helicopter Co and Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) – to act after U.S. regulators have not backed mandating the equipment despite a series of recommendations since 2013.

Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people died when a twin-engine Sikorsky S-76B helicopter slammed into a hillside outside Los Angeles in heavy fog on Jan. 26. The helicopter did not have a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder.

The safety board found that a “lack of recorded data hindered their understanding of several crashes that could have serious flight safety implications.”

The manufacturers did not immediately respond to requests for comment or declined immediate comment. The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately comment.

Some helicopters are required by the FAA to have crash-resistant systems to record flight data and cockpit audio but none are required to have image-recording capability. Some operators have voluntarily equipped their helicopters with recording systems, including image-recording capability.

The NTSB cited seven helicopter investigations between 2011 and 2017, in which the lack of access to recorded data impeded their ability to identify and address potential safety issues.

The NTSB said 86% of 185 turbine-powered helicopter accidents it investigated between 2005 and 2017 had no recording equipment installed. The NTSB also asked manufacturers to provide a way to retrofit existing helicopters with recording systems.

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